‘We can’t stop the conspiracy theories’ – Bosasa director on Watson’s death

Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson
Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson

The Watson family has asked for space to grieve in the wake of the death of controversial businessman, Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson, on Monday morning.

Valence Watson, one of Gavin Watson’s brothers, told City Press on Tuesday that “we need space to sort some things out and see what is happening”.

Watson died after the Toyota Corolla he was driving collided with a concrete pillar on the road leading to the drop-off and parking sections at OR Tambo International Airport in the early hours of yesterday morning.

As news of the car accident spread yesterday, so did the speculation and the conspiracy theories. Economic Freedom Fighters national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi was one of the many who voiced his opinion:

Barry Farber was one of the founders of law firm Edelstein Farber Grobler. He died in his sleep on August 11.

A trust account belonging to the firm was apparently used to house donations made to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s successful ANC presidential campaign, known as CR17, in 2017.

Watson was due to testify an inquiry into his tax affairs on Tuesday. He was also one of the subjects of the inquiry into state capture – his former friend and Bosasa right-hand man Angelo Agrizzi had made some startling revelations to the Zondo commission, which is probing these allegations.

Earlier this year City Press reported how Agrizzi told the commission of inquiry into state capture that Watson had offered him R50 million for his silence after he threatened to reveal details of alleged corruption at the company during his 18 years there.

Read: Agrizzi to spill more beans at state capture inquiry 

This came after the Hawks arrested seven people including Agrizzi in connection with the alleged awarding of tenders worth millions of rands by the department of correctional services.

However Watson was not among those arrested and was only subsequently implicated in allegations made at the state capture inquiry. 

Speaking to City Press on Tuesday Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said following up on the allegations made against Watson would prove challenging following his death.

“We have to deal with the allegations made by Mr Agrizzi and to do that we would have to approach the accused, which will now be impossible. The issue of how we move forward now rests with the investigating team and the National Prosecuting Authority,” he said. 

The director of African Global Operations (as Bosasa is now known), Papa Leshabane, confirmed to City Press that plans for a memorial service were under way.

“We are still finalising details around the memorial service and we will probably release a statement later today [Tuesday],” he said.

Read: Bosasa boss, state capture mastermind: Just who was Gavin Watson?

Responding to the theories that have been circulating on social media, Leshabane said: “We have issued a statement that confirms what we know. The conspiracy theories are not going to change so there is very little we are going to say or try and do to stop them.”

According to police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale, there have been no new developments in the case.

She told City Press: “The investigation is still going on and there has been nothing new so far.”

Many South Africans took to social media platforms, including Twitter, to express shock at Watson’s death.

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